Trainer puts $5000 on the bar

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

DAR­REN Weir shouted the bar a cool $5000 af­ter his stal­lion Stra­tum Star ($10) won the Kingston Town Clas­sic in a day at As­cot marred by con­tro­versy.

It was the first WA Group 1 win for the Mel­bourne trainer, as well as home-grown jockey Damien Lane.

The rich­est Group 1 1800m race in the south­ern hemi­sphere, the $1 mil­lion race capped off the re-booted Masters car­ni­val which saw at­ten­dance jump 52 per cent over the three rac­ing week­ends to about 26,000 peo­ple.

Perth Rac­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Ju­lian Sul­li­van said the in­au­gu­ral Masters had been an out­stand­ing suc­cess.

“Across all key bench­marks, the suc­cess of the first ever TAB­touch Masters has ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said.

“We set out with The Masters to at­tract a class field and some of the best horses com­pet­ing on the track to­day – in WA, Aus­tralia and over­seas – and we hit our target there, with nom­i­na­tions for the three Group One head­line races hit­ting a record of 281 and the num­ber of in­ter­state and in­ter­na­tional gal­lop­ers more than dou­ble last year’s to­tal.”

In a first for Perth, all Group One races were broad­cast live on the Seven Net­work in WA.

The day was soured for some when cham­pion jockey Dou­glas Whyte was charged for fail­ing to ride Rail­way Stakes win­ner Scales of Justice ($5) to the line.

Stew­ards used vi­sion from the Hawk-eye re­play to claim Whyte had stopped rid­ing in the last 20m.

Whyte, who pleaded not guilty, said he had stopped us­ing the whip but still used his hands and heels to drive the horse home.

Trainer Lind­say Smith said he was happy with the ride.

“It wouldn’t have mat­tered if he hit it two or three times,” Smith said.

Scales of Justice lost by only half a head to Stra­tum Star.

Whyte, who has since re­turned to his Hong Kong home, could face a lengthy sus­pen­sion if found guilty.

The win for Stra­tum Star broke the five-year-old's year-long los­ing streak.

Weir brought the horse to Perth a month ago to fire him up with a change and he also tri­alled the horse twice rather than en­ter him in a lead up race.

“I went the dou­ble trial, I came and had a look at him last week and I thought he looked a bit big un­der­neath,” he said.

Smith let the east coast­ers use his own track to train the win­ner.

Last year’s Kingston Town win­ner and favourite Per­fect Re­flec­tion ($4.60) sur­prised New Zealand hope­ful Kawi to come in third.

Pic­ture: Si­mon Mer­ritt / Western Ra­cepix

Dar­ren Weir-trained Stra­tum Star crosses the line half a head in front of Scales of Justice to win the $1 mil­lion Kingston Town Clas­sic.

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